Rio Ferdinand gives verdict on Anthony Martial’s Man United career after completing Sevilla loan
The former Monaco forward has been a bit-part player for the Premier League team for some time, featuring just eight times in the Premier League this season and scoring only once in all competitions for the Red Devils.
He arrived with a big reputation and price tag and initially excited supporters, but inconsistent showings and being overshadowed by the likes of Marcus Rashford have left him on the fringes of the club, managing fewer than 400 minutes on the pitch this season. That has led to his move to Spain, on loan for the rest of the season with no reported option to buy .
Ferdinand, speaking on his Five podcast , pointed to the 26-year-old’s inability to nail down a guaranteed spot in the team and failing to show his best form regularly enough as being big reasons why he has been a disappointment and needed the move away.
“I think Anthony Martial needs this. He needs to play first-team football, he needs to be a regular, he needs to start playing on a regular basis now on a consistent level,” Ferdinand explained.
“For the last year or so, even longer maybe, he hasn’t been a regular and he’s needed this move. He showed glimpses throughout his career at Man United where you think; ‘Wow, this kid could be ultra-special’. But then there’s been times where he’s been underwhelming and you thought; ‘This isn’t good enough’.
“Hopefully he improves [on loan] and it frees up a bit of space for Man United to go and get someone else.”
Comparing Martial with other wide forwards who have made a much bigger impact over the last two years - with Martial scoring only seven last season in all competitions, just four times in the league - Ferdinand pointed out a lack of intensity and intent from him out of possession.
“I just feel with Martial he didn’t move enough off the ball, he didn’t make runs in behind, but he’s quick. Sometimes you’ve got to vary the way you attack opponents and you can’t always want the ball to feet. He probably didn’t hurt defenders in behind as much as he could have.
“When you look at a [Sadio] Mane, [Marcus] Rashford sometimes, [Raheem] Sterling, they don’t all just come to feet as for a defender it then gets easy to read. You have to vary the point of attack. I don’t think that he did that enough. You see things levelled at him that he didn’t smile and was moody but you just look at more the way he played his football - his inconsistencies. When you’re going to be a winning team you can’t have people who are inconsistent in the team.”
Ferdinand pointed out a couple of United team-mates who are in a similar boat and may need short-term moves elsewhere, given they are similarly struggling to find a role under Ralf Rangnick having also been marginalised by former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“I’m interested to see who else goes; you’ve probably got Donny van de Beek probably going to go somewhere - interested to see where he goes. The same with Jesse Lingard - my head would say to me Newcastle but these are players that need to go out and play football and Martial is one of them.”
As the Independent have reported, it appears Lingard’s move to Newcastle is now unlikely to go ahead , with Van de Beek and Dean Henderson others who are searching for exits.